In my post on Monday, I wrote about why the Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest report on children and media use — Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds — is such a shocker. As I noted, the report found that the children spend, on average, more than 7.5 hours a day consuming some kind of media — more than 10.5 hours, if you count using more than one media at once (think texting and listening to an MP3 player simultaneously).
Part of what interested (and, yes, dismayed) me about the report was the finding that that only 28% of the children surveyed said their parents enforce rules about how much time they can spend watching TV — and only 30 percent have rules for playing video games. Thirty-six percent — slightly better — said their parents make rules about how long kids can use the computer.
Equally disturbing, 64 percent of the participants said their TV is usually on during meals and 45% said the TV is on in their home “most of the time.” Another 71 percent reporting having a TV in their bedroom (even though the practice is roundly condemned by child development experts; one half of the children surveyed said they have a console video game player in their room (which is also advised against.) Children in homes where the TV is left on all the time — you guessed it — spend 90 minutes more a day watching TV than those from homes where the TV is turned off; children with a TV in their room spend 60 minutes more a day than children with no TV in their room.
“The amount of time young people spend with media has grown to where it’s even more than a full-time work week,” Drew Altman, Ph.D., president and
Here’s the little piece of good news: The study also found that household rules about screen time really do lower the amount of time kids spend in front of a screen; on average those with any media rules consume about 3 hours less media per day (2:52) than those with no rules.
Up Next: How to set good rules around media use for your kids